Eastbourne cricketers set to re-live 1997 National Cup glory

Roger Myall
Roger Myall
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Eastbourne cricketers will get a chance to re-live one of the proudest moments in the club’s history.

20-years ago Eastbourne skipper Alex Halliday held aloft the 1997 National Cup following a convincing victory against Harrogate at Lord’s.

Roger Myall, a key member of that winning XI, is organising a reunion in Eastbourne on June 17 & 18, 2017. There will be a dinner on the Saturday night and then the 1997 team will take to the field once more for a match on Sunday followed by a BBQ.

Myall said, “It was such a special occasion for us as a team and a club. The team has since scattered far and wide but we are hoping that we can get everyone in attendance.

“It’s not just for the players we are hoping to include everyone who took part in that cup run from volunteers to all the parents who helped get us to the matches and supported us along the way.”

The majority of Eastbourne’s National Cup winning side progressed through the Colts section that was run by the late Peter Bibby but there were also telling contributions from the likes of Richard Halsall and Mike Lyons who were studying at Brighton University - Halsall went on to become England assistant manager and is currently the fielding coach of Bangladesh. Another member of the side James Hamblin progressed to the professional game with Hampshire.

“We were not a star studded team but we had a great belief and tremendous team spirit,” added Myall. “The nucleolus of the side was from the Colts but interspersed with university lads. All of the team wanted to be there at each match and it was just one of those times where everything came together at the right time.”

On route to the final Eastbourne were massive underdogs as they knocked out five-time winners Old Hill from Birmingham. It was a nail-biting affair at Haden Hill Road as Halliday’s men required three off the final ball. Number 11 Paul Hacker was on strike and he sliced one off his bat that squeezed through a retreated field and raced over the boundary for four.

Bromley were seen off in the quarters at the Saffrons and Hacker once again featured as his remarkable nine overs yielded just four runs. Another home draw saw them dispatch Exmouth in the semi-final to set up a Lord’s showdown with Harrogate.

Myall added, “Their (Harrogate’s) chairman gave a speech at the dinner the night before. He said, ‘Brave ‘little’ Eastbourne had done so well to reach the final but it’s a shame they will be up against the might of Harrogate’ - for us, that was all motivation we needed!”

Eastbourne dominated the final, skittled Harrogate for 160 and won by nine wickets with 10 overs to spare.”

Halsall scored 80 not out and finished the tournament with a superb average of more than 100.

“It was a remarkable day to look back on,” added Myall. “We were blown away by the history of playing at Lord’s and it’s nice to look back and say that on the day we all performed well and won the National Cup final.”

For more details on the reunion email Roger Myall: roger@sportagroup.com

Eastbourne National Cup 1997 winning XI: Paul Stevens, Darren Stevens, Michael Stevens, Geof Stevens, Richard Halsall, Alax Halliday (c), David Meacher, Roger Myall, Paul Hacker, James Hamblin, Mike Lyons, Jon Lord (12th man).